Evaluating discipline in sport: fairness, consistency and human rights

Pendlebury, Adam David (2003) Evaluating discipline in sport: fairness, consistency and human rights. Other thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This thesis evaluates disciplinary hearings in sport. It analyses whether the procedures adopted by sports regulatory bodies are human rights consistent, paying particular attention to standards of fairness. It assesses the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) on disciplining in sport.
The research reviews the public I private distinction within this jurisdiction and explores the possible interpretations of both pure-public and quasi-public authorities by analysing the wording of HRA section 6. If the courts adopt a broad interpretation, and in some way look at the nature of the bodies' powers, then there is a strong possibility that sports regulatory bodies will be susceptible to the HRA. This interpretation includes the monopolistic or governmental nature of the bodies' powers.
If, however, the courts adopt a narrow approach, and the source of the power is decisive, sports regulatory bodies will not be vertically susceptible to the HRA. The horizontal effect of the HRA is addressed in the event of this eventuality. This work
analyses how the HRA affects sports persons if no public authority is party to the proceedings. It concludes that horizontal effect of some form will be deployed and highlights that this could be the way that sports persons choose to enforce their human rights.
Having addressed jurisdictional issues this work compares the protections afforded by the rules of natural justice to the protections afforded by Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It assesses how a sports person, who alleges bias or a lack of independence on the part of a disciplinary hearing, is legally protected under the different standards. It achieves this by applying both pre and post HRA standards to a case study and analysing the effects of these applications. The research found that although, the pre-FIRA protections provided sports persons with redress against
regulatory bodies, the implementation of the HRA has the potential to afford further protection.
Therefore, it is likely that disciplining in sport will have to adapt to guarantee that the disciplinary hearings are HRA compliant. Sports regulatory bodies will be susceptible to the Act in some form and the protections Article 6 provides extend sports persons rights against them.

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